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Graduating seniors skeptical of college housing prospects

Staff writer

Marion senior Cassie Meyer’s college of choice hasn’t wavered in the face of distance learning or COVID-19, but she is still wondering where she will live this fall.

While she plans to attend Kansas State University, Meyer doesn’t know if she’ll be able to stay on campus.

“There’s still so much unknown,” she said. “It’s probably going to affect where I end up dorming, if they even allow people to dorm next fall. It threw a lot of confusion into the plans and definitely made it harder to get information because everyone is working from home at K-State if they can.”

Fellow Marion senior Jaimee Wickman and her roommates were supposed to pick out a dorm room Monday at Wichita State University, but she was unsure they’d be able to live in the dorms even if they had a room chosen.

Wickman hasn’t received much new information, but said Wichita State officials expressed optimism about opening classrooms and dorms at the university this fall.

“It’s all pretty stressful considering we’re not sure about anything,” she said. “No one’s really elaborating on what their thoughts are.”

Tabor College publically announced plans to completely reopen this fall, but did not share how that would happen.

Wickman, who works at Parkside Homes in Hillsboro, is used to strict regulations on social interaction.

“Everything we’ve been used to doing has changed a lot in terms of needing to make sure everyone is being sanitary and stays healthy,” she said. “Luckily, we haven’t had anyone get sick.”

Forced social-distancing this year has helped steel Meyer’s nerves in case she needs to cope with it again this fall.

“I’ve definitely missed out on stuff being a senior,” she said. “Missing out on stuff freshman year of college, it will still hurt or be emotional, but it’s not like it’s new.”

Hillsboro senior Callie Arnold said she hasn’t heard any of her peers discuss a change in their college plans, even with the possibility of distance learning.

One factor for Arnold is the belief that losing in-person classes won’t be permanent.

“I don’t know yet, but I figure if they are online it will only be for a semester or a year,” she said. “Then I’ll be back to a normal college experience.”

Arnold said that having family members attend Bethany College, as well as her scholarships and proximity to home, also kept her invested in Bethany.

“It’s just where I wanted to go,” she said. “I figure if the classes are online then I’m just going to go with it. It’ll be fine.”

Similar to Arnold, Meyer has had multiple relatives attend K-State. Having two generations of alumni in Meyer’s family helped sway her decision.

“That definitely played into my decision wanting to go to K-State,” he said.

Meyer said some classes are impossible to translate well online, especially if they require hands-on experience.

“How can you teach someone to weld via a video call,” she said. “There are a lot of people facing that situation.”

The possibility of distance learning hasn’t changed Wickman’s plans to pursue a premedical degree but it has altered her perception.

“The classes I’d be taking would be really difficult to take online or remotely, without face-to-face contact,” she said. “It’s so hands-on and communication-related that it would be extremely difficult.”

Staying motivated during distance learning is difficult, Wickman said.

“It’s prepared me, but also would make me less willing to do what I was going into if I have to do everything online,” she said. “It’s hard to stay motivated throughout online classes.”

Despite the temptation to lose enthusiasm, Meyer distance learning helped her become more organized and efficient.

“It’s definitely given me a lot of skills for handling online classes, and has made me become more accountable,” she said. “I know I can slack off or procrastinate, so I’ve been making schedules and having been learning how to discipline myself.”

Last modified May 6, 2020

 

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